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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
 
Why do men love breasts? In BLONDES I describe the most interesting and promising theories — from the Freudian (breasts remind men of Mom) to the evolutionary (breasts resemble buttocks and prehuman ancestors mounted from behind), and the reproductive (breasts are an indicator of age and big breasts are a marker of high estrogen levels). These are some of the most likely reasons why breasts are beloved even in cultures that don’t eroticize them any more than the face.

A new spin on the male fascination with breasts came up this week in John Tierney's interview with neuroscientist Larry Young on love blockers. According to Young, “more frequent sex and more attention to breasts could help build long-term bonds through a ‘cocktail of ancient neuropeptides,’ like the oxytocin released during foreplay or orgasm.” The same oxytocin circuit, he notes, is activated when a woman nurses her infant.

The article doesn’t connect all the dots, but the suggestion is as follows: The hormone oxytocin is released when breastfeeding, making the mother feel good and helping her bond with baby. Sucking and caressing a woman’s breasts during foreplay may also trigger oxytocin release. When oxytocin hits the brain, women become more trusting and attached. Men evolved to pay attention to breasts as a means of attracting and retaining lovers.

The “boobs help bonding” theory may not be the strongest explanation of why men love breasts, but it’s worth introducing to the debate. That said, I strongly suspect that there are many women out there for whom a lover’s suckling does nothing — and there are many breast-ogling guys who know nothing of foreplay.
Comments

Alamir

Alamir

The only problem I have with these type of theories is that the attraction is so dependent on cultural and society's norms. For example, South American latins seem to be more attracted to large hips rather than large breasts. Or even in North America, it wasn't too long ago, about the 70s, that being all-round skinny was considered beautiful, and before that, in the 50s, it was women with large thighs.

porcelainkitty

PORCELAINKITTY

I agree that there's a wide range of cultural reactions when it comes to breasts (esp breast size), although -- as Darwin himself pointed out -- breasts are a sexually selected trait even in cultures that don't eroticize them any more than the face. True, Americans fetishize breasts more than most, but even in places where women walk around topless, breasts signal health,youth, fertility, etc.
REPLIES: Alamir

Alamir

Alamir

Replying to porcelainkitty:
I see. It's interesting that you mentioned "places where women walk around topless" it reminded me of a friend I have who is Micronesian who explained just yesterday how she was never allowed to show her thighs in Micronesia despite the fact that being topless was alright in her region. Even when swimming, she had to wear a skirt. Yet, in the West, thighs aren't really that big of a deal.

porcelainkitty

PORCELAINKITTY

That's really interesting about thighs -- and it makes sense....Thighs are another part of the body where we store fat for breastfeeding. Thigh fat (glutefemoral fat) is the source of breast milk and it's much healthier than abdominal fat....

ChawlieFresh

ChawlieFresh

i love bouncing tits.

Amanda

Amanda

I can think of lots of reasons why I really don't agree with this scientific research although I haven't read the original article (I just watched the WordArc podcast, read quickly the posted comments). If big boobs remind men of butts, why wouldn't they just go for the butt? I think a preference for big boobs is a product of socialization, In some cases, it's an offshoot of our current "bigger is better" (well, not everyone, but I guess American) attitude. Personally, I find big boobs aesthetically unpleasing. I'm not a hetero guy though. Is it really rooted in biology to desire oddly shaped, surgically enhanced fake boobs? Lots of girls with big boobs have big boobs because they're overweight. Lots of healthier, in shape girls, do not have big boobs. (Yep, this is a super big generalization and Im sure there are lots of exceptions). Wouldn't fitness be a bigger factor in producing healthy progeny? This supposed preoccupation with big boobs is social, not biological. Most women don't even breastfeed their babies, so a return to that comforting state makes no sense.

Amanda

Amanda

I think most guys are happy to have access to any boobs. If they look at a girl with big ones, it's because 1) it's hard not to look if theyre right in your face, 2) maybe they need to get a girlfriend, period, 3) theyre scuzzy loser types that no girl with a brain would want to date anyways.



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